Butterflies were dancing in the grass, Kate watched them as her mother made a fire to wash clothes at the Creek. Lovis allowed Kate to come because she was a good child. Lying down in the grass, she was chatting in her sweet way to the birds and the insects, happy and in her own dreamworld.
Her other four children were told to stay in the cabin. James Sage her husband, was out clearing the ground for a new crop, They had some horses stolen last year, it was 1793 now, early April and a bright sunny day, They recovered the horses with help from their neighbors, the man ran off avoiding capture. James and Lovis hoped life would settle again without these dramas, they loved their home and their young family.
As she lit the fire and went to get the clothes Lovis was humming a song. But when she returned to the cabin and walked back through the grassland, her heart stopped, there was no sign of Kate. She was missing! No movement save the grass sighing and the gossamer wings of butterflies glinting. Sick and faint from worry she called for Katy, then went to find James.
All night and day they searched every creek bed, and cried together when they didn’t find her. No sleep came as for weeks they called and walked the fields.
The neighbours scoured every hut and secret place a child could hide, using imagination they tried to eliminate anyone who might harbor her, but the search was hopeless.
James did detailed searches, becoming quite crazy looking for her, in desperation he contacted a woman called “Granny Moses”. So James travelled to see this woman who was supposed to have clairvoyant powers. She was in the mountains of North Carolina. He made the arduous journey with a strong conviction he would find answers. He needed to know just what had happened to his dear Kate. With tears in his eyes he told the story again to the elderly woman.
He was told when he had finished his story, “ Katy is alive and well, but you will not see her, your wife will outlive you and in very old age will hear of Katy, but will not see her.”
James had to endure the horrors of war as he followed Washington through campaigns, and this was made harder because he was distraught about never finding Katy. He returned home to work on his land, yet often although they had more children, they both talked of Katy, and at every family gathering she was remembered. The memories were fainter, but in a Mother and Father’s hearts she lived on.
Thirty one years later James died and was buried at the farm, and Lovis stayed on her land at Elk Creek, her children grown and scattered now.
Charles one of the boys settled in Kansas and in 1854 met an Indian agent. The agent looked at him questioning where he came from and did he have a female relative amongst the Shawnee Indians?
He went on to explain that there was a white woman who bore a striking resemblance to Charles. At first Charles thought this was not his concern, then he reflected and asked the agent if he could see the woman?
The woman was sent for, and appeared in front of Charles, when he saw her Charles felt sudden shock, this woman who was about sixty, was the image of his mother twenty years ago. All the features and colouring were the same.
She told him through an interpreter her name was indeed Kate, and although she spoke no English now, she recounted her history which included three marriages to Indian chiefs, and the birth of one son. Her son had since died and so had her husbands. She had been with the Cherokees and the Shawnees and living in that area for a while. She also knew she had once come from another place and been stolen by a white man. Her name she always kept, she was still Kate.
Another brother lived in Missouri, Samuel was able to come and confirm she did look like his sister. So the brothers wrote to their mother asking if she could remember anything special about Katy. Lovis was nearly 90, but wrote back with the information.
The letter came at last from Elk Creek, yes, she had a birth mark on her shoulder, and they discovered the ginger coloured birth mark and knew without doubt this was the sister they lost.
As they all went through the elation of a preparing a proper reunion with her mother and the family, Kate who was packing to go on the journey became ill with pneumonia and died. The earlier prophesy came true.
She was buried in a family grave, her ashes joining those of her Mother and brothers, under a western plains sky, which even now has changed very little, and there are still those who pass on the story, and those who listen and understand the saga of the family, fragments of other lives that will continue in folk lore.
That blood runs through my veins, the blood that made James the strong man he was, the blood that made the other members of the Sage clan go to America and Canada, and become part of a new world. Yet in a sleepy Somerset village, the graves mark the ones who stayed behind my great grandfathers. Imagination is our transport, we can fly like the eagles over Western Planes, or skim over lakes in Ontario, we can soar over deserts in Australia, there are no boundaries and with us we carry those memories and they will never die.
The above grave is one of my family, The Sage family originated in Somerset. They were mostly farmers.
Some facts are not consistant in the records, Kate was Cate in one, Lovis was spelled Lovisa, and the grave of Kate may in fact be on an Indian reservation. But I love the story and only found it recently.
This is part 1 of five entries. Voting for them starts after the 18th. By then I should be in severe pain but have a new knee, so will not be replying commenting or reading, unless life treats me kindly! Good luck to all my friends. Read and vote to support us.